Wednesday, December 21, 2011


                          DEATH OF A TOURIST

Back then my village was sweet and innocent as a four-year-old child.  The tin roof market was the hub of life.  Children would play in the sea and ride to the market to buy a soda.  The little Mayan girl behind the counter would pour the contents into a plastic bag and add a straw to avoid charging a bottle deposit.  

On Wednesdays every dog in town would be carried to the market by the scent of fresh meat, for it was on that day a quarter cow was delivered from Cancun and butchered.  And beside the market door I found a wonderful vantage point to watch the world pass.   It was just a widow covered with a shutter, but the market owner would open it during the day for

ventilation, and right inside the window stood the old coca-cola cooler filled with ice cold beers.  So I would spend the mornings writing Child's Play, my mind creating scenes in Germany.  And then I'd amble toward town to stand and drink a cold beer, staring out at the sparkling Caribbean, waiting for the fishermen to return with the days' catch.  It was the strategic spot to see any new tourist woman who might arrive.

But this post concerns a death, so let me get to that.   One of the hotels in town used to get groups of tourists from Montreal.  I used to spend time at the hotel because I was dating one of the daughters.  Often the tourists like to sun bathe nude.  So it wouldn't cause havoc in town, the hotel would drive the nudists to a remote beach.  Although no locals stood gawking, in that area the reef did not block the current so sometimes the surf was rather strong.  

One of the French Canadians was rather fat, and had been drinking that day.  And, of course, he was unable to stay afloat.  Now the hotel driver took off and drove as fast as possible down the dirt trail to the local police station.  Those local police were so happy to have something to do.  Usually they stood about outside, looking so important with their safety-pinned insignia, trying to determine where the smell of marijuana was coming from.  (The young woman who worked in the restaurant across the street would go up on the roof and hide as she laughed and blew smoke towards the police below.)

Well, the locals took off in their new shiny truck, got the body, and drove it back to the hotel where they called the Federal Police.  And that is when I entered the picture!  Wrong place, wrong time.  I had just finished a beer at my favorite market window and was feeling amorous, so I walked around the back of the hotel, hoping to find my girlfriend alone, but instead my worst nightmare happened!  I walked right into the middle of a circle of machine gun toting Federalies!

I felt bad for the local police.  The Federal guys were really letting them have it for moving the body.  They actually made them drive the body back to where they found it so they could properly investigate the scene.

Sometimes land crabs would sneak under my door and wake me up with their clicking noises.  And, sometimes the guests were silent, like this one.  

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